Mike Pence rallies GOP around Rick Scott, Trump in Orlando


Speaking in Florida on Thursday to help Republican Rick Scott win a U.S. Senate seat from an incumbent Democrat, Vice President Mike Pence painted a picture of his boss, President Donald Trump.

It was a very different picture than the one that emerged this week in veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” in which President Trump’s White House is described as “crazytown,” with staffers openly criticizing Trump’s acumen and temperament, or a much-discussed opinion piece in the New York Times attributed to an anonymous senior Trump administration official suggesting “many Trump appointees” have committed to a resistance, an effort to thwart the president’s “misguided impulses” and avert damage to the republic.

Pence instead touted Trump as driving toward prosperity.

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“This president is a do-more president,” Pence said. “You ever notice that … there’s no rearview mirror in that pickup truck. It’s all straight ahead.”

Pence told those assembled at the Marriott Orlando Downtown the best way to keep that truck moving down the road is to elect Republicans like Scott, who share a similar philosophy: Cut taxes, roll back regulations and avoid looking out the window.

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“There’s a symmetry between what the president and I have been doing … and what Rick has been doing,” Pence said.

Scott’s single-mindedness on the economy has lowered unemployment from 11 percent when he took office in 2011 to 3.7 percent now, Pence said, adding Florida has added 1.5 million new jobs during Scott’s tenure.

“Rick Scott has actually cut taxes for the citizens of Florida by more than $10 billion,” Pence said. “He’s reduced or eliminated more than 5,200 burdensome regulations on businesses small and large.

“As governor, he paid down $9 billion in state debt, and while he was doing that … Gov. Rick Scott still made historic investments in education, infrastructure and the environment,” Pence said.

Scott, who introduced Pence, did not mention Trump.

Instead, he repeatedly mentioned his opponent, three-term U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, pairing him with the Democratic nominee for governor, Andrew Gillum, who has drawn the embrace of self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Gillum’s support for the single-payer health insurance approach known as “Medicare for All,” also drew a Scott attack.

“His reckless Medicare-for-All approach should be named ‘The End of Medicare as We Know It,’” Scott said. “This radical approach has another name: socialism.”

Democrats responded with their own attack on Scott and Pence.

“If Rick Scott and Mike Pence had their way, Floridians would be less healthy and would face higher health-care costs,” said Nate Evans, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, in a statement released Thursday. “For years, Scott and Pence have been lockstep in their repeated efforts to strip protections for those with pre-existing conditions and drive up healthcare premiums, and their callousness when it comes to ensuring access to quality affordable healthcare is on display now more than ever.”

The Scott luncheon followed a GOP unity summit down the block earlier in the day. There, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, who represents Volusia and Flagler counties in Congress, introduced his running mate for lieutenant governor, state Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, who represents part of Miami-Dade County.

Pence called DeSantis “a full partner” in the Trump agenda, while DeSantis told Scott’s audience that Nuñez will be a “star for our party.”

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